Will Labor deliver for the arts?

We think the Australian Labor Party is kinder to the arts, but is it?

Are our feelings blinkered by Gough Whitlam´s famous acquisition of Blue Poles by Jackson Pollock in 1972 for $1.3 million? (now conservatively valued at $350 million). Here’s what the Australian Labor Party has said they’ll do for Australian artists.

Develop a National Cultural Policy.

A National Cultural Policy will set the direction for culture in Australia. It goes beyond arts to look at how schools, trade, health and international relations are interconnected with our artistic heart.

It will bring together all levels of Government; Federal, State and Local to see how we can work together to improve the cultural richness of this country.

Rather than start from scratch, the Australian Labor Party has said they’ll reignite Creative Australia and have it up and running by the end of the year.

In a sign of how much the arts are important to a Labor Government, they’ll have a Federal government department dedicated to the arts.

Put First Nations first.

As Tony Burke said himself, ‘We have the oldest continuing cultural practices on the planet. The first pillar of Australia’s cultural policy should be First Nations.

Treat artists as workers.

With artists considered workers it will mean we’ll be supported if the economy shudders again and we’ll have the protections that come with that. With the Greens holding so many Senate seats, don’t be surprised if their idea for an Artists Wage Pilot program kicks off with a trial for 10,000 artists.

According to the Australia Institute, the creative arts make a major contribution to the Australian economy, employing 194,000 Australians and directly contributing $14.7 billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

In fact, the creative and performing arts employ four times as many people as coal mining, and as many as the finance industry.

With this in mind, it’s time the arts industry is recognised for the financial and cultural powerhouse that it is.

The votes are still being tallied, there’s hope for a brighter future for the arts in Australia.

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